My life was stuck on pause for seven years in the nineties. On my dad's birthday in 1991 life said, hold please. It didn't come back to me until sometime in 1998. All this recent talk about malaria vaccines has me thinking about that time again.
I can see the look on your face that tells me you have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about. And I recognize that it isn't entirely fair of me to not tell you the story in light of the preceding paragraph. I'll tell you what, I will give you the end of the story and then, if the spirit moves me, I will start again at the beginning tomorrow.
I showed up at the hospital confident that the worst was over. The day before she had been moved out of the ICU; albeit, only for a few hours, but I convinced myself the worst was finally over. I found it a little odd that the waiting room was empty, but they had talked about moving her to UCLA and it seemed reasonable that they would do it at night to avoid the nightmare of LA traffic in the morning.
I got to the nurse's station and asked to see her. The nurse looked up and said the words, she's not here anymore and looked back at her monitor as if she'd just given me directions to the men's room.
Where is she? I asked.
She looked up at me again and said, she's not here anymore.
Sometimes I still get an overwhelming urge to cunt punch that nurse.
Another nurse came to the desk, recognised me and came out from behind the nurse's station.
Did nobody tell you?
Tell me what?
I'm sorry, but she died.
What? No? She was supposed to get sent to UCLA, she was getting better...
I am so sorry.
It gets a little fuzzy here. I don't remember much more from that day.
My dad lived two blocks from the hospital and I had been staying with him. I got back to his place that night and had to tell him about my day. I think seeing me broken broke something in him. Or, maybe he saw something in my face I couldn't see. All I know is that was the saddest I have ever seen my dad. He hugged me in a way that made me acutely aware of just how tired I'd become and very literally held me up. In the midst of our embrace I remembered that it was his day and began to apologize for forgetting all about it. He stopped me.
My life was put on hold that day and it took a lot of years and a lot more fuck ups to finally pull out of the haze. The seven or so years of haze could be a story all its own. This isn't about those seven years. This is about the end of the thing.
|Nothing heals me like you do|
She whispered in my ear, I have to go and I can't come back.
In that moment I wanted to break her open and climb inside.
I don't remember anything else that was said or done. I woke up sad, tired, with her smell still lingering in the air I breathed.
Thank you for holding, your life has been waiting.